I’ve always been an ardent reader, an enthusiastic lover of stories. I remember when I was little, before I learned how to read, I wanted to know how to read so badly. I couldn’t wait until the day that I could sound out more than just my first name. I would pick up my older siblings’ books and novels and just sit there staring at the pages while they watched TV or played. Between skimming the pages, I’d peek up to see if they noticed that–HELLO–I was “reading”! (Or, you know, I was looking intently at odd shapes that I assumed made up some magical story within the book I held.) They never appeared to notice or care, but I continued on flipping through pages, imagining what kind of story was encapsulated inside this or that book.
Now, it’s hard to find the time to wrap myself up inside a great book (and it’s not because I’m still learning to read). Between a busy work and life schedule, I find myself starting several books and slowly–we’re talking molasses-slow–chipping away at each of them simultaneously. The OCD side of me hates that I do this because finishing one of these books takes about, oh, a year (if I’m being generous). But, at the same time, I get to choose which book of the several I’m reading at once that I pick up, depending on what mood I’m in and what topic I feel like investing time in. Here are the four I’m working at (and loving) currently.
1. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
If you know me personally or have read any of my blog posts, you know I struggle with finding balance between creativity and the rest of my life. This book is teaching me–in a beautifully written, yet firm, way–to SHUT UP and just get to work. Simple as that. Plus, Gilbert’s one-liners that serve as inspirational quotes to Pin forever and ever are amazing and aplenty.
John (boyfriend) and I are slowly working our way through this one–like, slower than all the other books on this list. It’s been a couple months since we picked it up–but we both agree that the main lesson is an important one. While John and I have entirely different work styles and goals, Keller’s lesson of choosing one thing, the most important thing, to focus your attention on at a time is a takeaway that’s proven useful in both John’s and my life.
Speaking of John, he gave me this book last year as a gift. I think it’s a sign he doesn’t exactly trust my financial skills? (KIDDING. Because, what financial skills?) I’m learning, you guys, and this book is certainly helping, even though it’s usually last on my list to pick up when I have spare time for reading. I am pretty self-aware about my financial situation, but that doesn’t mean I always know what I should be doing financially, as a young professional making a modest living. And this book is helping with that in a totally understandable way.
4. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
The one novel I’m reading right now, this book is a tear-jerker and a page-turner. It’s about a deaf girl who, during World War II, gets separated from her father and must find her way to safety amid the approaching Germans. I am a sucker for Holocaust history and sad stories, but the weight of this one makes it difficult for me to pound through quickly. So, I’m savoring it–something made lovelier by the incredible writing courtesy of Doerr. (Shout out to John’s parents for a fantastic Christmas present!)